To Be Loved And To Love–Two Sides Of The Same Coin

“To be loved and to love are the two sides of the same coin,” Rinda wrote back early yesterday.

She was responding to the story of Sylvie and Bruno, the part where Sylvie had to choose between “All Will Love Sylvie” or “Sylvie Will Love All”.

“Thank you for the lovely story… May you know you are loved even as you continue to grow in loving those whom the Father loves.”

I was smiling when I read my Spiritual Director’s reply. She has an uncanny way of shifting and enlarging your perspective so that it includes the whole picture–when our tendency is to focus on just the one.

Her wisdom, grace and love has greatly impacted my life, and her words are always aptly spoken, ‘like apples of gold in settings of silver’.

So it wasn’t surprising, but greatly amusing, when I, with sleepy eyes at half past 1 in the morning, found out what Sylvie and Bruno did with the Locket, over four hundred pages later, in page 822, 823, and 824…

Light, richer and more golden than any lamp could give, flooded the room, streaming in from a window I had somehow never noticed before, and lighting up a group of three shadowy figures, that grew momentarily more distinctly–a grave old man in royal robes, leaning back in an easy chair, and two children, a girl and a boy, standing at his side.

“Have you the Jewel still, my child?” the old man was saying.

“Oh, yes!” Sylvie exclaimed with unusual eagerness. “Do you think I’d ever lose it or forget it?” She undid the ribbon round her neck, as she spoke, and laid the Jewel in her Father’s hand.

Bruno looked at it admiringly. “What a lovely brightness!” he said. “It’s just like a little red star! May I take it in my hand?”

Sylvie nodded: and Bruno carried it off to the window, and held it aloft against the sky, whose deepening blue was already spangled with stars. Soon he came running back in some excitement. “Sylvie! Look here!” he cried. “I can see right through it when I hold it up to the sky. And it isn’t red a bit: it’s, oh such a lovely blue! And the words are all different! Do look at it!”

Sylvie was quite excited, too, by this time; and the two children eagerly held up the Jewel to the light, and spelled out the legend between them, “ALL WILL LOVE SYLVIE.”

“Why, this is the other Jewel!” cried Bruno. “Don’t you remember, Sylvie? The one you didn’t choose!”

Sylvie took it from him, with a puzzled look, and held it, now up to the light, now down. “It’s blue one way,” she said softly to herself, “and it’s red the other way! Why, I thought there were two of them–Father!” she suddenly exclaimed, laying the Jewel once more in his hand, “I do believe it was the same Jewel all the time!”

“Then you choosed it from itself,” Bruno thoughtfully remarked. “Father, could Sylvie choose a thing from itself?”

“Yes, my own one,” the old man replied to Sylvie, not noticing Bruno’s embarrassing question, “it was the same Jewel–but you chose quite right.” And he fastened the ribbon round her neck again.

“SYLVIE WILL LOVE ALL–ALL WILL LOVE SYLVIE,” Bruno murmured, raising himself on tiptoe to kiss the ‘little red star.’ “And, when you look at it, it’s red and fierce like the sun–and, when you look through it, it’s gentle and blue like the sky!”

“God’s own sky,” Sylvie said, dreamily.

“God’s own sky,” the little fellow repeated, as they stood, lovingly clinging together, and looking out into the night. “But oh, Sylvie, what makes the sky such a darling blue?”

Sylvie’s sweet lips shaped themselves to reply, but her voice sounded faint and very far away. The vision was fast slipping from my eager gaze: but it seemed to me, in that last bewildering moment, that not Sylvie but an angel was looking out through those trustful brown eyes, and that not Sylvie’s but an angel’s voice was whispering

“It is Love.” – Sylvie & Bruno, Lewis Caroll

The passage had echoed the wisdom of Rinda, “To Be Loved And To Love, Are The Two Sides Of The Same Coin”, before we had read it! 🙂

So if the story is read in totality, we would know that it isn’t about having one over the other–either way, we will have both–but it is a way of being.

And the Father, who is also the old man in the royal robes and the old King in the story, is proud of the choice we make, to love our neighbour, as ourself. “It was the same Jewel–but you chose quite right,” he said.

As Rinda has so beautifully reminded, “May you know you are loved even as you continue to grow in loving those whom the Father loves.”

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

Advertisements

Love Is Not For Show

“Look well at it, my darling,” the old man was saying, “and  tell me how you like it.”

“It’s just lovely,” cried Sylvie, delightedly. “Bruno, come and look!” And she held up, so that he might see the light through it, a heart shaped Locket, apparently cut out of a single jewel, of a rich blue colour, with a slender gold chain attached to it.

“It are welly pretty,” Bruno more soberly remarked: and he began spelling out some words inscribed on it. “All–will–love–Sylvie,” he made them out at last.

“And so they doos!” he cried, clasping his arms around her neck. “Everybody loves Sylvie!”

“But we love her best, don’t we, Bruno?” said the old King, as he took possession of the Locket. “Now, Sylvie, look at this.” And he showed her, lying on the palm of his hand, a Locket of a deep crimson colour, the same shape as the blue one and, like it, attached to a slender golden chain.

“Lovelier and lovelier!” exclaimed Sylvie, clasping her hands in ecstasy. “Look, Bruno!”

“And there’s words on this one, too,” said Bruno. “Sylvie–will–love–all.”

“Now you see the difference,” said the old man: “different colours and different words. Choose one of them, darling. I’ll give you whichever you like best.

Sylvie whispered the words, several times over, with a thoughtful smile, and then made her decision. “It’s very nice to be loved,” she said: “but it’s nicer to love other people” May I have the red one, Father?”

The old man said nothing: but I could see his eyes fill with tears, as he bent his head and pressed his lips to her forehead in a long loving kiss. Then he undid the chain, and showed her how to fasten it round her neck, and to hide it away under the edge of her frock. “It’s for you to keep, you know,” he said in a low voice, “not for other people to see. You’ll remember how to use it?”

“Yes, I’ll remember,” said Sylvie. — Sylvie & Bruno, Lewis Caroll.

Besides the beauty of the lesson taught within this passage, there’s another story behind this story, on WHY I’m sharing it with you. 🙂

Earlier in the afternoon, I’ve received an unexpected email from my Spiritual Directors. They hardly ever write, so I knew this would be special. Among other things, they shared their thoughts on, “All Day God, Everyday” with focus on the “Sacredness of the Ordinary Time.”

How do we see and recognise God who is everywhere in the everything around us every-day? 

Is this what St Paul called “pray without ceasing”?  Can this be possible? 

Yes, it is possible and only with God.  

For God is far more interested and keen to reveal Himself to us as He truly is then we are able to recognise.  

We will need new eyes to see and know Him.  Can this be a grace we ask God for for this new year?

Will we recognise and receive Him when He comes to us “all day and everyday”?

See with new eyes…

After reading that email, I wanted to do some writing, but ended up thumbing through the thick, golden pages of Lewis Caroll’s Complete, Fully Illustrated Works. I was reading in no particular order when this story–which I’m reading for the first time today–popped right out at me!

I see Him in a story today and He is speaking to me deeply about Love.

Everybody loves Sylvie!” Bruno says.

“But we love her best, don’t we, Bruno?” said the old King…

It can be said that Bruno is the voice of our Self, who loves and yearns for the adoration and acceptance and love of ‘everybody’.

But the old King, who can symbolise God, says, “…we love her best, don’t we, Bruno?” I see this as an allegory to God’s Love & Self-Love–which is the best kind of love, and worth infinitely more than love and approval from ‘everybody’, which is often fickle, transient and conditional.

But it is a choice:

All–will–love–you. You–will–love–all.

“Now you see the difference,” said the old man: “different colours and different words. Choose one of them, darling. I’ll give you whichever you like best.

The old King has given his invitation for us to choose… May we, like Sylvie, come to see the difference. “It’s very nice to be loved,” she said: “but it’s nicer to love other people.” The decision is up to you. 🙂

Lastly–and therefore most importantly–the story draws to a close with, “Then he undid the chain, and showed her how to fasten it round her neck, and to hide it away under the edge of her frock. 

It’s for you to keep, you know,” he said in a low voice, “not for other people to see

Just last night (and it’s so beautiful how it’s all connected!), I was reading the book of Matthew chapter 23, and the line that stood out most to me is in verse 5: “Everything they do is done for men to see…”

That one line there, struck me to the core, like an arrow to the heart. It’s a powerful reminder.  Like Sylvie’s Locket, that spells ‘Sylvie–will–love–all’, our choice to love others–and therefore acts of love–is not for show.

It’s for you to know. And God knows. That’s all that matters. 🙂

Love,

Mish.

****

Michelle Tan is the Founder of The Love Culture ‎~ Inspiring A Loving Way Of Living. https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

Her mission is to make space for Faith, Hope & LOVE through her writings, clothing line ROX/STA http://www.roxstastudio.com & music.

Love Changes Everything

‘Love can transform the most commonplace into beauty and splendour, and sweetness and grace…’ reads a caption from a poster, tucked within the pages of The White Bat ballet theatre program.

It is a play about Bella, a repressed housewife who hungers for love, and her husband, whose mind is only on his work–his first love. Everything begins to change when Bella discovers the Bat.

“Bats are not all black or blood sucking monsters… Imagine if all bats were white, would we think of them differently?” says Jie Choong Wan-Chin, Artistic Director of Danceworks Production.

One day, the Bat appears in the night and whisks Bella away to a world of her dreams. That one encounter irrevocably and undeniably ruined her.

Her happiness is expressed as she dances secretly and spontaneously in her living room to words of this song by Etta James, ‘At Last… my Love has come along… My lonely days are over… And life is like a song…”

Ironically, its when lonely Bella has found Love that she is wooed by many lovers, at ‘The Nightingale’ club. A bar fight breaks out between the Bat and the Husband, who is now aware that he is loosing Bella. Both ‘men’ ends up in jail. Bella arrives, not to take her husband home as he had expected, but to lock herself in with the Bat–throwing away the key.

Its obvious by now, in her heart and mind, there’s no turning back. She’d rather be imprisoned by Love than be a prisoner of a loveless marriage.

Question is, Who is the Bat? Is it a man? Or is it a metaphor? We are not too sure at first. But the program did say, ‘the Bat is the hidden nature of us: moving among the shadows and manifesting in the night.’ 

Life is a delicate dance between Who We Are as confined by others and traditions like marriage, and Who We Are as defined by the Bat–who embodies Love. ‘The Nightingale’ club is where Bella falls in love with the Bat, finds her voice and sings again–coming alive through Dance.

Are you ready for the Bat to take you where your heart wants to go? Are you ready to leave behind your loveless marriage with a job you hate but pays well? Are you still a prisoner of a toxic relationship or Fear? The Bat may seem like a scary thing–but if you’re READY for a new point of view–only if you’re ready–LOVE changes everything.

This morning, I stumbled on the news of Angelina Jolie’s writing and directional debut for ‘The Land Of Blood And Honey’. By the end of the trailer, two captions appear. “Love, can change what we want… War, can change who we are.” Love and War are two things I feel very strongly about. Can’t wait to watch this. Hope it makes it to our cinemas!

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

TLC ~ Love Of The Day: I Hope You Love Surprises!

Think of this as your ‘Soup Of The Day’ special for your Heart, Mind and Spirit:

“I Hope You Love Surprises!” 

The doorbell rings. I didn’t bother answering it. I’m too busy reading and reflecting and commenting on blogs.

So my help opened the door for the mysterious visitor and my bro put on a shirt and went downstairs to check out who it was.

I heard a hullo and some laughs and up comes this hippie lookin’ kid with hair longer than mine, and a paperbag.

“I hope you love surprises!” he says.

And pulls out a journal covered in hearts and candies and a little booklet that says ‘A little bit of GOD in every day’.

“It’s a little late, but this is for your birthday and also Christmas.”

Then he goes off to give gifts to my sis while my bro fiddles around with his gift–an electronic guitar tuner.

Who knew I’d still be getting a birthday gift and Christmas pressie from 2011 on a New Year! 🙂 I didn’t. And I’m loving the surprise. It totally fits in with my only motto for this year: EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED. 

I believe it will be a year of Surprises and I will learn to love the Surprise, however and whatever way it appears–good or ‘bad’. I’m giving up my need for control over my future and needing all the answers for my life, right here, right now. I’m going to let go and let God surprise me. So far, He’s doing a good job through my bro’s friend Rufus–and it’s only day 2!

As I’m sharing this moment with you, my bro is taking a break from marking his student’s papers and strumming the guitar with his friend, filling the apartment with live music, on a beautiful sunny afternoon. 🙂

Who / What’s ringing your bell & dropping in unexpected today? Do you see it as an unwelcome intrusion into your personal time & space?

Can you open your heart and mind to receive The Gifts that it can bring?

A blessing is often in disguise. I hope you love surprises.

And then, whenever you can, BE the Surprise. 🙂

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

Congratulations! You Made It To 2012. Happy New Year! NOW What?

Wow. Can you believe it? It’s 2012! The question on my mind all day today is, “NOW what?”

Not knowing the answer to that question is scary. The unsettling feeling of Fear began to weigh me down.

To shake it off, I turned to THE ADVENTUROUS FOUR AGAIN! by Enid Blyton.

It’s one of my favourite childhood books from when I was eleven.

Obviously, I haven’t read it in ages. In the midst of packing up books to give away, I ended up having fun reading it all over again the last couple of days–and I’ve been amazed by how differently I read this book now!

Every page seems to be coming alive with rich, insightful Wisdom for Life.

Today, I’m at chapter II, and I could see a parallel in one of its passages with our feelings of hope and wishes for the brand New Year 2012:

“Let’s go somewhere exciting,” he said. “Can’t you take the Andy (a boat named after their friend) and go on a trip somewhere? Don’t you know anywhere thrilling, Andy, you could take us to?”

“There’s the Cliff of Birds,” said Andy suddenly.

All the three children were fond of birds. Their eyes shone.

“Let’s go there!” said Tom.

Their eyes shone. Their eyes shone. Their eyes shone.

The answer to my “NOW What?” question came to me in a form of another question, thanks to those three words. “What makes your eyes shine? What makes it come alive? What makes it light up?”

And the answer to that question has been coming to me, and still is.

But how about you? “What / who makes your eyes shine?”

The answer to that, is a very big clue to your “NOW What?” question. And in that moment, like Tom, your heart will be telling you, “Let’s go there!”

Are you ready to get a clue? Why not sit with the question, live with it, explore it and learn from it? Or are you choosing to be stuck in Fear? Listen to your heart. Why not? What’s holding you back? Drop a comment below…

~

Love NOW,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture